Final, 3-1 Bruins: That’s all she wrote. The Bruins are on to the conference finals, and the Rangers can officially begin their summer.
The 17,000-plus at the Garden did an excellent job of supporting this team tonight, and we’ll see you next round.
Third period, 50.4 seconds, 3-1 Bruins: Gregory Campbell, Mr. Hard Work, with the dagger into the empty net. Bruins lead 3-1. Party is on in Boston.
Third period, 2:26, 2-1 Bruins: With the Rangers’ season on the line, it’s the Bruins who are putting on the offensive pressure, with the Krejci line sustaining another long possession with several shots.
Third period, 5:07, 2-1 Bruins: The Rangers are finally putting on their push, but Rask is standing tall. He and the Bruins have 5 minutes to kill to earn this one.
Third period, 10:21, 2-1 Bruins: Tuukka Rask really hadn’t had to do a lot of tough work tonight, until just now, when Ryan Callahan broke free on a breakaway with a chance to tie the game. Callahan deked to his backhand, and Rask stayed square with him and made a blocker save to preserve the one-goal lead.
Third period, 12:05, 2-1 Bruins: Not a ton of life out of the Rangers right now. Frankly, I didn’t expect to see much effort in them after what they’ve displayed all series, but it’s still surprising to see a complete lack of desperation with the season hanging in the balance.
Third period, 15:03, 2-1 Bruins: Jagr gets a shot on net from in close, but Lundqvist was there with the glove (and the added flourish, to make it look good). Other than that, the B’s power play goes into safety mode and generates no offense.
Third period, 17:32, 2-1 Bruins: Derek Dorsett gets called for sticking out his left leg to trip Milan Lucic. Two more minutes of power play time for Boston upcoming.
Third period, 18:21, 2-1 Bruins: No dice on the power play for the Bruins.
Third period, 20:00, 2-1 Bruins: Fifty-three seconds remain on Dorsett’s penalty, and the Bruins would love to double this lead.
End of second period, 2-1 Bruins: The B’s don’t generate anything on the first minute of the power play, and they’ll have 53 seconds with a man advantage on the clean sheet when the third period begins.
That period looked much more like the rest of the hockey we’ve seen in this series. The Bruins simply appear to be the team that’s collectively trying harder to win. They’re fighting harder for pucks, refusing to give up battles and are doing a better job of limiting their mistakes. The Rangers seemed to simply be chasing the Bruins for nearly the entirety of the second period, and the 12-7 shot advantage for the Bruins is just one indication of that.
Another is the fact that the “fourth line” was once again able to put a puck past the best goaltender in the world. That just does not happen without an overdose of effort, and if you need to see what that looks like, watch Daniel Paille set up that play.
So now the Bruins find themselves in familiar position. They have a one-goal lead they need to make last for 20 minutes. If they can do it, it’s on to Pittsburgh.
Second period, 1:07, 2-1 Bruins: Jaromir Jagr has not been scoring, but his skills as a puck handler helped out the Bruins just now, as a frustrated Derek Dorsett slashes Jagr’s stick into two pieces. B’s will get a power play before the second period ends here.
Second period, 6:19, 2-1 Bruins: Daniel Paille intercepted a Roman Hamrlik breakout pass, and then took away another Roman Hamrlik pass seconds later at the blue line. Paille carried into the zone and sent a pass to Thornton on the right wing. Thornton couldn’t get to it, but Gregory Campbell could. He fought through Michael Haley’s check and chipped the puck past Lundqvist for the go-ahead goal.
Both Thornton and Paille pick up assists, as the fourth line continues its excellence this series.
Second period, 11:07, 1-1: Penalty — killed. Rangers didn’t really get much of anything there, just a soft Stepan prayer from the blue line that didn’t make it through to Tuukka. Bartkowski ended up getting the puck after hustling to the defensive end and really turned on the jets to generate a rush and a shot on net. Fast kid.
Second period, 13:21, 1-1: The Bruins will have to fend off the suddenly competent Rangers power play, after Matt Bartkowski gets called for tripping.
I say “gets called” for tripping because I don’t think he actually tripped Carl Hagelin, but rather Hagelin was falling down before Bartkowski’s stick even made contact with him. Alas, if ifs and buts were candy and nuts, then it would be Christmas every day. B’s have a penalty to kill off.
Second period, 16:12, 1-1: You’ve got to be kidding me. Torey Krug, again, on the power play, again.
The kid set up shot at the top of the right faceoff circle and fired away with a one-time slapper. It sailed right past Lundqvist’s right shoulder and under the crossbar to tie this one up.
Tyler Seguin and Brad Marchand get the assists.
Second period, 17:23, 1-0 Rangers: A speed rush by Tyler Seguin leads to a good chance to the Bruins and also a hook by Mats Zuccarello. B’s power play gets a chance to liven up the home crowd and tie the game.
Second period, 20:00, 1-0 Rangers: New York went 13-0-1 this season when they took a lead into the first intermission, so it’s time for the Bruins to get to work. It won’t be easy.
Second period is under way.
End of first period, 1-0 Rangers: The Rangers took advantage of the only power play of the game, taking a lead and taking the rowdy Boston crowd of it early on. They have to be feeling happy after the first 20 minutes here tonight.
The Bruins, meanwhile, know they have to work a little harder tonight, especially with the way Henrik Lundqvist looks to be in “King” form. Aside from Lucic’s point-blank shot, the Bruins’ best scoring chance might have been the one that came on a 1-on-2 shorthanded rush by Rich Peverley, when his low wrister deflected off a New York skate and forced Lundqvist to make a late adjustment with the blocker to prevent the puck from sneaking under the crossbar.
But one shot off a bad New York turnover and one deflected shot while killing a penalty isn’t going to cut it, and the Bruins (9 shots) know that.
One Bruins player who’s stood out has been Lucic. He has that extra pep in his step, so to speak, and he’s made his presence felt all over the ice. He also seemed to perturb Dorsett, who’s having a very perturbable night, when the lumbering left winger stick-checked Dorsett on a potential semi-breakaway. Dorsett, offended by the stick-check, turned and shoved Lucic, who promptly dumped Dorsett into the corner boards.
First period, 5:02, 1-0 Rangers: Milan Lucic may have nightmares about Henrik Lundqvist’s glove tonight, as the Rangers’ netminder has already made two nice saves with his left hand on Lucic tonight.
The second was nothing short of incredible. After a Michael Del Zotto turnover in the New York end, David Krejci gloved the puck and dished to Lucic in the slot, about 15 feet from the net. Lucic released a shot high to the glove side, but Lundqvist came out to make his finest glove save of the series.
The score remains 1-0 Rangers, thanks to Lundqvist.
First period, 9:21, 1-0 Rangers: Don’t look now, but the Rangers’ power play is hot.
Once the Rangers finally established some possession in the offensive end, Dan Girardi teed up a one-time blast from the top of the blue line. With Brian Boyle planted firmly in front of the net with his butt in Tuukka Rask’s face, the shot weaved its way through traffic to give the Rangers a 1-0 lead.
First period, 10:08, 0-0: David Krejci just got penalized for some post-whistle rough-housing, which is strictly forbidden in the NHL rule books.
First period, 13:11, 0-0: Playoff hockey hurts.
Derek Stepan learned that when a Michael Del Zotto slap shot from the blue line was blocked by Milan Lucic and deflected right into Stepan’s face. Stepan skated to the bench hunched over and is going to need some dental or facial work (or perhaps both).
A couple of minutes later, Shawn Thornton squared up with Derek Dorsett at center ice. It was a short fight, with Dorsett going down to the ice and then seemingly not really wanting to get back up to his feet. Thornton didn’t quite have his fill to that point, so the two kept going at it in what turned into a four-man pig pile with the two linesmen.
For the extra-curriculars, the two got five for fighting and two minutes each for unsportsmanlike conduct. I’ll tell you this: Dorsett shouting F-you’s to Thornton was anything but sportsmanlike.
First period, 15:08, 0-0: It took 4:52 for the first whistle of the night, and it came on a pretty nice glove save by Lundqvist on a slapper from the blue line by Milan Lucic. Rangers have a 2-1 early shot advantage, as Claude was able to roll out all four lines and then some before the first whistle of the night.
First period, 20:00: Patrice Bergeron cleanly won the opening draw, and Game 5 is under way at the TD Garden.
5:34 p.m.: With puck drop just minutes away, Dougie Hamilton is officially a healthy scratch and Dennis Seidenberg is officially in.
Here are your starters.
Brad Marchand-Patrice Bergeron-Jaromir Jagr
Matt Bartkowski-Johnny Boychuk
Carl Hagelin-Derick Brassard-Ryan Callahan
Ryan McDonagh-Michael Del Zotto
5:28 p.m.: The Rangers will indeed scratch Richards as well as Arron Asham, and here’s how their lines looked in warmups, per NHL.com’s Dan Rosen:
Chris Kreider-Derek Stepan-Rick Nash
Carl Hagelin-Derick Brassard-Ryan Callahan
Taylor Pyatt-Brian Boyle-Mats Zuccarello
Michael Haley-Kris Newbury-Derek Dorsett
Ryan McDonagh-Michael Del Zotto
John Moore-Dan Girardi
Roman Hamrlik-Steve Eminger
5:09 p.m.: The return of the Chardenberg appears to be upon us.
Dennis Seidenberg skated with Zdeno Chara during line rushes, a good indication that the Bruins’ best defensive pair will be reunited tonight. That will depend on a post-warmup assessment of Seidenberg by the medical staff, but he certainly looked pretty good out there, just as he has for the past few days at practice.
As for the odd man out, that is unclear. Dougie Hamilton skated with Torey Krug on the first line rush, before Hamilton was replaced by Adam McQuaid in a rotation. Most of us figured it would be Dougie that joins us on press level tonight, but might it be McQuaid? We’ll know in the next 15 minutes, but we can’t make any such judgments based on warmups.
As for the Rangers, Brad Richards was not a participant in warmups, so he’ll be a healthy scratch yet again. It seemed to work for the Rangers in Game 4, so John Tortorella probably saw no reason to change.
4:48 p.m.: Based on all the talk about it, I think we’re going to see a fight tonight. I wouldn’t even be surprised if Claude Julien starts his fourth line in order to get Shawn Thornton out there to try to rile up the team and the home crowd right away.
Derick Brassard dropped his gloves trying to go with Brad Marchand the other night, but Marchand declined, and Thornton had earlier turned down an invitation from Kris Newbury. Thornton’s unwillingness to fight in that situation was to prevent giving the Rangers any sort of momentum. Tonight, coming off a loss, the Bruins might need some.
The ingredients are all there for a brawl or two tonight on Garden ice.
4:27 p.m.: Claude Julien said that Dennis Seidenberg will take warmups, and whether or not he plays will be a game-time decision.
Seidenberg had just one assist and an even rating in the first round, but his presence (presumably alongside Zdeno Chara) is expected to provide serious defensive stability. The Bruins have been very careful with his return, a luxury which they were afforded due to the building of the 3-0 series lead, but it’s clear the veteran is eager to get back into the lineup. It seemed like he was ready for Game 4, which should be a good indication for today. We’ll know more soon.
4:15 p.m.: There is little doubt that the Bruins should have taken care of business on Thursday night in Game 4. They failed, but the good news is they’ll get another crack at it this evening at TD Garden in front of their home fans. (And another crack it Monday in New York, and, heavens forbid, one more crack at it Wednesday back here in Boston, but let’s not go there just yet.)
If you’ve spent the last 40 hours or so listening to absurd complaints and panic-mongering on sports talk radio, then you might be nervous heading into this one. But don’t be. Despite most assessments before the series that these two teams were equal, the Rangers have not really been able to match the Bruins’ intensity all series, at least not since Game 1. I’m not entirely convinced New York really wanted to win Game 4, but after Tuukka Rask very literally handed the Rangers a goal and Zdeno Chara offered up the game-tying score, the Rangers seemed to kick into might-as-well-try mode. Prior to that gift from Tuukka, a 2-0 lead had the home team (and crowd) completely uninspired.
Tuukka knows he messed up, Chara knows he messed up, Claude Julien knows the mistakes were uncharacteristic, and that’s already in the past. A 60-minute effort devoid of bizarre mistakes, and the Bruins should be on their way to the Eastern Conference semifinals against Pittsburgh.
As for the lineup, it looks like Dennis Seidenberg may be making his much-anticipated return to the B’s lineup. He’s been out with an undisclosed lower-body injury, which he suffered in his first shift in Game 7 against Toronto. I’ll provide an update during warmups, when we’ll get a better idea of his status based on line rushes.
And I’ll be providing updates from the second the puck drops until a winner is decided, so stick with the live blog throughout the game.